Mental Floss

Brain Game: Sock It to Me... Again


Where's my thumbdrive? Okay, that's not a Brain Game. It's just a question that I felt like posing, particularly since I can't find mine. Luckily, there's nothing on it that I haven't backed up (and nothing that I wouldn't show my wife). I just hope it's not at the bottom of the washing machine.

But speaking of major clothes-related appliances...

Half asleep and not looking, Jerry reached in the clothes dryer to grab a pair of socks. Inside the dryer are his 12 black socks,  his 7 blue socks, and his 2 green socks. Now, Jerry doesn't care WHAT color socks he wears(that should be obvious, since he owns green socks); he just wants a pair that matches. What's the minimum number of socks Jerry would have to blindly pull out of the dryer to ensure that he has at least one pair of matching socks?

HERE is the solution.



Jerry has socks of three different colors, so even if the first three he picked were each a different color, the fourth would match one of them.

(And no, we don't know the location of Jerry's missing blue sock.)